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Walker Lane (Peter Werbe)
Don LaCoss
Sunfrog

Everybody but Bush

Don LaCoss

The election is already over and we have lost. The name of the president for the next four years won’t be announced until November 3, but I know right now that the guy who won is a white male millionaire from Yale who is drunk on arrogant feelings of self entitlement and privilege.

The asshole who has already won this election is a statist insider who has conspired with his colleagues to kill and rob more people around the world in the name of American exceptionalism. He’s pro-war (even worse, pro-“War on Terrorism” & pro-Iraqi invasion), pro-PATRIOT act, pro-No Child Left Behind, and pro-Israeli free-for-all militarism.

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Fifth Estate Collective
We Are Celebrating 40 Years of Publishing ...maybe!

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The Fifth Estate is the longest publishing, anti-authoritarian, English language publication in US history. Next year, we will celebrate our 40th birthday...maybe!

Due to rising printing and postage costs, our future is in jeopardy if we don’t come up with several thousand dollars within the next two months. We are planning a special 100 page bound edition and a national tour to celebrate our fortieth anniversary, but you may be holding our last issue if we don’t solve our financial difficulties immediately.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Inside the FE

FIFTH ESTATE #366, Fall, 2004, Vol. 39, No. 3

News, etc. pages 2 — 11

Features on “unschooling the world” pages 12 — 45

Letters to the FE pages 46 — 49

Reviews, etc. pages 50 — 53

Bookstore & Calendar pages 54 — 55

john johnson
Tales from the Planet

Sherman is Out, But not Free

Anarchist organizer Sherman Austin has been released from prison after serving most of a one year sentence after being framed for controversial content on his website RaiseTheFist.com. He faces three years of federal probation under terms which are a continuing attempt to silence him from exercising his right to organize with anarchist groups. Sherman will be intensely monitored to the extent that every phone, computer or other digital device he comes in contact with will be under strict supervision by his probation officers. For updates on Sherman, check freesherman.org.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Sovereignty & the State Not Another Editorial!

Meet the New Boss

When US occupation authorities pretended to return sovereignty to Iraq, they erected a pliable government of quisling-proxies. To cover up the devastating failure of the invasion, they created a mirage of Iraqi independence.

During a secret ceremony in a heavily-militarized bunker buried somewhere in the Green Zone, there were no Iraqis present other than the new puppets; only Western news media, US military officers, and armed mercenary bodyguards were allowed to attend.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Call for Submissions Send us your ideas & images for FE 367, “Economy & Community”

As we go to print, the US Ministry of Fatherland Security has just raised its color-coded freakout level to ORANGE, citing “credible and specific” terrorist threats against “financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington DC.” Sure, we all hate capitalism, but what is it, exactly, that inspires people to load a truck with dynamite and drive it into the lobby of a stock exchange? Would desperate terrorists plot for four years to blow up a community-supported agricultural farm, a free store, a mutual-aid labor exchange center, or a file-sharing website?

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Doug Graves
A Day without Protest Sober reflections on the G8 protests and the global resistance

Tie 30th annual G8 summit meeting of the major industrial nations was held this June on Sea Island, Georgia within a day’s drive of the Fifth Estate’s southern headquarters, so some FE collective members traveled to participate in the planned protests and counter-summit.

Approximately 300 resisters assembled in Brunswick, Georgia—the closest the demonstrators were allowed to the royal elite—to greet some of the 30,000 military and police personnel stationed throughout the region.

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John Brinker
Doug Graves

Art as Terror? Professor busted by Feds

Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is a collective of artists and academics who illustrate problems with science and technology through writing, performance, and installations. Their objective is to demystify high-tech tools so that the public can make informed decisions about the new technologies that are already impacting our lives in many ways.

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Sterren
Anarchists in Boston Protest DNC

Famously liberal Boston turned totalitarian at the end of July, complete with: newly installed surveillance cameras, random baggage searches and i.d. checks on public transportation, thousands of out-of-town police (including military police) in full riot gear, circling helicopters, F-14 overflights, and a 1,000-person capacity “free speech” protest pen a block from the convention center, constructed of razor wire, chain link fence, and overhead netting. These new toys and structures were created under the guise of “homeland security,” with the stated purpose of protecting Bostonians and convention delegates from likely terrorists and violent protesters, who would supposedly be out in force targeting the Democratic National Convention (DNC). This process ended up initiating a permanent surveillance program.

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Bill Blank
Introduction to Radical Education Theme intro

In Deschooling Society, sociologist Ivan Illich explains how “school either keeps people for life or makes sure that they will fit into some institution.” In our special section on “Unschooling the World,” the Fifth Estate maps alternatives to this institutionalized reality; the following avalanche of articles attempts to sort out the conflicts and contradictions for a radical transformation of schooling-and subsequently, revolutionary social change.

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Tomas
Gettin Schooled The Politics of Teaching, Writing, and Race

I’m sitting with my developmental writing class towards the beginning of the semester. There are two white students, eighteen students of color, six international students. It’s the exact opposite in my critical thinking class. But we aren’t talking race yet; we’re talking about language, about writing, about swearing in your papers, about slang. They point out that it’s because I’m the teacher that I can encourage them to write in any way they want to. Because they know when they are done with me, they gonna have problems in the next class. It don’t matter what we say, but how we say it, they point out. And since you a teacher and Mexican, you can use some spanglish like it’s cool and all. When you a professional it’s ok, not for us though.

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Ron Sakolsky
Teaching Anarchy

There are many anarchist approaches to education from free-schooling to home-schooling to de-schooling and beyond. The experience recounted here occurred in a much less receptive learning environment.

For twenty years I taught a course, entitled “Anarchy and Social Change,” at a university that was at first fairly experimental (student-centered, no grades, interdisciplinary, participatory decision-making and self-designed degrees), but which, over the years, deteriorated (though not without a battle) into the “anywhere USA” franchise of bureaucratic education that is so widespread today.

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anon.
Adamant refusal will not go unnoticed

I’ve been giving the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to my 3rd graders this week. I could be fired, possibly arrested, for telling you this, but do you want to know what’s on the test? Here’s one of the questions:

Why do cities have laws?

a. to take people’s money

b. to make leaders powerful

c. to give police officers jobs

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Palmer Eldritch
Anarchist Accidentally Asked to Lecture at Army Base

I teach world history classes at a small, third-tier state college. After the start of the US drive-by massacres of Afghanistan in the late fall of 2001, I completely changed the content of my history courses in order to emphasize the history of Islamic civilizations and the interactions of cultures in Central Asia and the Middle East with those of Europe. After the invasion of Iraq, I decided to focus especially on Western military incursions in that region since the Crusades. My course descriptions explain all this very plainly and are posted with all the other class listings on the college’s web page.

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Starla
“Studying History, Making History”

As someone who has spent her entire learning life in public schools, from a public elementary school in Oklahoma to a public University in Colorado, my career has been a multidimensional experience based on dynamic inquiry. Unlike many, I never really thought of my schools as limiting or controlling. Yet the same institutions that gave me so much vigorous opportunity sadly possess a nationalistic underbelly, a contradictory and conformist core.

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brush
On (anarchist) Education (in a world of many worlds)

“Education passes on more than knowledge—it transmits the lore, beliefs, customs, values, rites, and ceremonies that shape a society and govern its functioning. In short, education transmits culture.”

—Randy Bass

We know what culture modern schools reproduce: Empire. Schools are prison-factories, churning out producer-consumers from alpha to epsilon, bastions of patriarchy. The institutionalized authority (as truth and discipline) of “teacher says”: the violent stewing chauvinism of clique and posse, the age-stratified, passive aggressive coercion to conformity. And of course, they are boot camps for capitalism, for learning to repress unmediated human desires (for love and play and learning) to work mindlessly (“for your own good”) under the pallid urging of those damned abstractions through which capital rationalizes life so that grades, with time, become money.

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William Boyer
Stumbling Upon Public School Utopias Tales from two front lines

Part One: Utopia Outlined

February 1999: I’m pivoting on my desk, basking in a student-led discussion, momentarily featuring a couple of black-clad teenagers contrasting the ideological differences between Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid with Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

The twenty alert faces of the elective “Russian Social Anarchism,” stretch about the carpeted room, where Pilot pens race across lined paper as if there are only seconds left to write before our CD musical segue into Chumbawamba, while a girl with cropped pink hair raises her hand, eager for the previous student to call upon her.

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Don LaCoss
Schools of the Americas

In The Underground History of American Education, the renegade educator John Taylor Gatto traces the genealogy of compulsory public-school education in the US back to the system of pedagogy created in the nineteenth-century northern European state of Prussia. Prussia is often seen by historians as the architect of German nationalist unification; after the Napoleonic invasion of 1806, the Prussian military aristocracy decided that it needed to reform education in that kingdom so that new, centralized schools could produce “obedient soldiers to the army; obedient workers for mines, factories, and farms; well-subordinated civil servants, trained in their function; well-subordinated clerks for industry; citizens who thought alike on most issues; and national uniformity in thought, word, and deed.” The Prussian education model became heavily geared toward patriotism and civic virtue after the near-success of the Revolution of 1848; the ruling class in Prussia wanted to insure that the contagion of revolutionary ideas was not being picked up in the schools.

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John Brinker
William Boyer

Francisco Ferrer & the Free Education Movement

Today, the concept of a free school has many connotations. It can mean the freedom to choose what to learn or whether to learn at all. But whatever we mean by free, we can’t really discuss the free schools of today without some background in the Modern School movement that began more than a century ago.

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Ivan Illich
Learning Webs

Editor’s note: Cultural critic Ivan Illich died in December 2002 at the age of 76. In tribute after tribute, his personal friends and admirers of his work marvel at Illich’s enduring generosity, humility, and radical spirit. While many at Fifth Estate have appreciated his influence, we never paid proper tribute. Now with this unschooling issue, we share a poem from one of our regular contributors and a very brief excerpt from the essential and prophetic 1970 book Deschooling Society.

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Egg Syntax
Radym

Radical books for kids Learning anarchy

We’re certain that most anarchists can remember at least one book that first introduced them to anti-authoritarianism, political engagement, gender-role-bending, or other topics of lasting importance. But such books are hard to find amid the morass of boring, mainstream kid-lit that reinforces the same capitalist and authoritarian values which are fed to adults (can you say “Disney”?). Here, then, we present a highly subjective and idiosyncratic guide to some of the best work out there. Undoubtedly, we’ve left off your favorite author; we’re sorry, and we meant to check with you before we wrote this, but there are thousands of great children’s books out there, and our guide could easily have taken up the whole of this issue if we’d let it. Our selection is ordered, loosely, by age of target reader.

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MaxZine Weinstein
Segregation Rising ...and the Strategy to Leave Children Behind

While attending a meeting in Gainesville, Georgia to learn about the horrific effects of environmental racism, the conversation quickly turned to education. For decades African Americans have been fighting pollution and coping with obscene leukemia rates in their community in this city of 25,000 residents. That day, they vented about the local public school system and the intensification of segregation in schools. They know segregation is a device designed to limit their community’s access to the tools and services needed to have a decent life.

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David Gribble
Forget about theories ...learn about the practice

Anarchist practice in education is emerging throughout the world, but it tends to describe itself as “democratic” to avoid the negative reaction which the word “anarchist” so often arouses. The name of the annual International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) was chosen by the two fourteen-year-old girls who ran the fifth conference which was held at Sands School in England in 1997. They didn’t like the name, but they couldn’t think of a better one, and it has stuck.

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Gustavo Esteva
Reclaiming our Freedom to Learn The Universidad de la Tierra

They came from villages and barrios as naive refuseniks, mostly indigenous, who were fed up with the classroom. They came with curiosity, rather than conviction. They had heard about Universidad de la Tierra from friends or acquaintances and decided to give it a try. The cost of the whole adventure is ridiculously low, almost irrelevant.

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Ali Naqvi
Learning, Unlearning, Defining, Redefining The IDSP experience

Modernity is an age of gadgets, where things are created and destroyed, not in years but in seconds, where stances change, but where social change itself is an unthinkable phenomenon. The world is divided into developed and underdeveloped, and people are valued not for what they produce but as commodities, where learning is merely schooling and where dissent is sophistically controlled. The weapons of subjugation are clever, and information overload is persistent. The destinies of people are determined behind closed doors. The global development is need of the market and the market drives the lives of the people.

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Tina Fields
Adventures with the Audubon Expedition Institute

Students and teachers live, sleep, eat, and travel together. A hand-made bumper sticker hangs on the ceiling of one bus, “If the students lead, the faculty will follow.” Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI) is a radical and accredited college program where I taught as field faculty for the last four and a half years.

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Various Authors
Short reviews Walking on Water; Joybringer magazine; Baby Bloc; Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls

Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution. Derrick Jensen. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2004.

reviewed by Leafy

Already known to us for his indictments of civilization and chilling memoirs, Derrick Jensen takes us inside his real-life anti-classroom and relates his teaching methods in a narrative, story-telling fashion that follows his first rule of writing: Never bore the reader. Throughout, he exposes school systems as training camps teaching us, as Arthur Evans expresses, “depersonalized learning, alienation from nature and sexuality, obedience to hierarchy, fear of authority, self-objectification, and chilling competitiveness.” Jensen challenges his students to start developing past these trainings.

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Tanya
Letter from a Teacher

Teaching at Durfee Middle School in Detroit’s inner-city, I found that most students had not been exposed to books of any kind before entering school in first grade or Kindergarten. No one read at home, not to themselves, and parents did not read to their children.

At staff meetings and informal discussions with teachers at both schools, I tried getting a teacher book discussion club going. One reason was to model enjoyment of reading to our students. I was appalled to find out that most of the teachers didn’t read anything outside of school either. One year, I discovered that only one teacher out of 33 read out-side of school and that for a weekly bible study class at her church.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Select Radical Pedagogy Bibliography

Apple, Michael. 1993. Official Knowledge.

Apple, Michael. 1995. Education and Power.

Apple, Michael. 2001. Educating the “Right” Way.

Freire, Paulo. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Gatto, John Taylor. 1992. Dumbing Us Down.

Goodman, Paul. 1956. Growing Up Absurd.

Goodman, Paul. 1962. Compulsory Mis-education and the Community of Scholars.

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Camy Matthay
S is for Shame F Is for Fury, M is for Mothering

As a well-educated woman who had elected to be a stay-at-home mother, I was an enigma. I wasn’t into Jesus, ironing male garments, or particularly indolent. Yet my choice was perceived to reveal a flaw of character, a weakness. I was supposed to buck up and go back to work. But I just couldn’t do it. That made a lot of people uncomfortable, and most of my critics wore heels. I endured, from liberals and self-identified feminists, endless variations of the question “What is a bright woman like you doing at home?” They were platitudes, ironically, meant to compliment, but shocking insofar as they implied the judgment that mothering and child rearing were occupations reserved for stupid, unambitious women.

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Sunfrog
De-schooling the de-schoolers and Unschooling my Illusions

Schooling in an authoritarian society is often demeaning and determined to inculcate ignorance and obedience. When schooling fails, we deem it a social disaster. But without a viable alternative, the subversion that sneaks inside the doors and out from under the rugs—thanks largely to autonomous students, radical parents, and anti-authoritarian teachers—might partially redeem public schooling for now.

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prole cat
Whose kids? OUR Kids!

Sick with the flu, our family had just finished a group medical examination. The doctor paused before leaving and asked, “Does anyone need an excused absence from work? Does the child need one for school?” My first thought was, why does everyone automatically assume that a three-year-old “goes to school”? And my second thought was, since when does a parent have to justify himself to the school authorities, anyway?

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Fifth Estate Collective
History Quiz

Name:

Please choose the best answer for the following questions.

1) Before becoming governor of California in 1967, Ronald Reagan

a. was a stool pigeon for the FBI and the anti-communist witch-hunters of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigating the film industry.

b. told a major California newspaper: “It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.”

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Various Authors
Letters

Fifth Estate Letters Policy

We welcome letters commenting on our articles, ones stating opinions, or reports from your area. We can’t print every letter we receive, but each is read by the collective and considered for publication. Letters via email or on disk are appreciated, but typed or hand-written ones are acceptable. Length should not exceed 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for length or style. If you are interested in writing a longer response, please contact us.

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Fifth Estate Collective
News & Reviews

Readers may have noticed that the important content last time limited our reviews sections. But now we are back. This summer, we caught up on our reading and offer the following four pages to comment on some of the many great books and ‘zines that we’ve received in the last several months. And we pledge to continue next time. We love to get mail! Please send us your journal or book to look at. Or send us a short review. If you publish or distribute magazines, please contact us about trade possibilities.

PO Box 6, Liberty, TN 37095

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Anu Bonobo
Leftism, nihilism, and the anarchy I seek A review essay of some current propaganda

Read and considered, perused and recommended, liked and disliked, discussed and commented on in the following section:

Green Anarchy (current issue available from FE books for $4 or free with any book order, while supplies last) Issues #16 and 17, Spring and Summer 2004 PO Box 11331, Eugene, OR 97440 collective@greenanarchy.org

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Fifth Estate Collective
The Barn Infoshop, Bookstore & Clubhouse

When you order books from the Barn, you support a collective and help keep the Fifth Estate physical space solvent. With your help, we’re trying to sustain an alternative to the commercialism of retail or web-based booksellers.

Books

NEW Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World. Edited by David Solnit. Almost 500 pages! City Lights. 2004. $18. See the review on page 50.

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Fifth Estate Collective
Resistance Calendar

To add an event, please email johnjef@bledsoe.net

Sept 20–26—Idapalooza Fruit Jam—A Queer Music Festival in the hills of Tennessee!

www.planetida.com or planetida@planetida.com for info.

Sept 24–26—Katuah Earth First! Regional Rendezvous, Bark Camp Timber Sale, High Knob, Clinch River Watershed and Clinch Ranger District, Jefferson National Forest, south western Virginia. Contact: johnjef@bledsoe.net or call Chris at 423—633–8483 for more info.

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